Herpes Simplex Infections (Cold Sores, Non-Genital)

Source:  Herpes Simplex Infections (Cold Sores, Non-Genital)    Tag:  herpes simplex viral infection

Cold Sores
(Herpes Simplex Infections, Non-Genital)

Medical Authors: Mohamad El Mortada, MD, MaryAnn Tran, MD, Corrine Young, PharmD, and Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP
Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad St�ppler, MD

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Cold Sores

Cold sores. These small, painful sores are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1. Once you are exposed to the virus, it can hide in your body for years. Things that trigger the virus and lead to cold sores include:

  • Getting too much sun
  • Having a cold or infection
  • Having your period
  • Feeling stressed

Cold sores can spread from person to person. They most often form on the lips and sometimes under the nose or chin. The sores heal in about 7 to 10 days without scarring. You can buy over-the-counter drugs to put on cold sores to help relieve pain. If you get cold sores a lot, talk with your doctor or dentist about a prescription for an antiviral drug. These drugs can help reduce healing time and the number of new sores.

SOURCE: Womenshealth.gov

What are herpes simplex infections?

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) can cause infections that affect the mouth, the face, the genitals, the skin, the buttocks, and the anal area. This article will concentrate on non-genital herpes. Many people acquire the virus and have no symptoms. For others, painful blisters appear near the area where the virus entered the body. Typically, the blisters heal completely but reappear at some point in the future when least expected (or desired). In between attacks, the virus resides deep in the roots of the nerves that supply the involved area. When herpes simplex lesions appear in their most common location, around the mouth and lips, people often refer to them as "cold sores" and "fever blisters."

What causes cold sores?

There are two types of HSV, type I and type II. In general, type I, also known as herpes labialis, causes infections above the waist, most commonly as oral "cold sores." Type II infections occur mainly below the waist, leading to genital herpes. However, both types of HSVs are capable of infecting the skin at any location on the body.

Herpes infections, no matter where they occur first, have a tendency to recur in more or less the same place. Such recurrences may happen often (for example, several times per year) or only occasionally (for example, once or twice a year).

What makes herpes (cold sores) recur?

After infection, the virus enters the nerve cells and travels up the nerve until it comes to a place called a ganglion. There, it lays quietly in a stage that is referred to as "dormant" or "latent." At times, the virus can become active and start replicating again and travel down the nerve to the skin, causing sores and blisters. The exact mechanism behind this is not clear, but it is known that some conditions seem to be associated with recurrences, including

  • a fever, a cold, or the flu;
  • ultraviolet radiation (exposure to the sun);
  • stress;
  • changes in the immune system;
  • trauma to the involved area;
  • sometimes there is no apparent cause of the recurrence.

How do cold sores spread?

Infections caused by HSV are contagious. The virus is spread from person to person by kissing, by close contact with herpetic lesions, or even from contact with apparently normal skin that is shedding the virus. Infected saliva is a common means of virus transmission. People are most contagious when they have active blister-like sores. Once the blisters have dried and crusted over (within a few days), the risk of contagion is significantly lessened. However, a person infected with HSV can pass it on to another person regardless of the presence or absence of symptoms and visible sores or blisters. This is because the virus is sometimes shed in saliva even when sores are not present. Despite popular myth, it is almost impossible to catch herpes (cold sores) from surfaces, towels, or washcloths.

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Herpes Simplex Infections (Cold Sores, Non-Genital)

HPV Virus (Genital Warts ) in Men Introduction

Much of the information about HPV virus (human papillomavirus) centers on women, since having the virus increases their risk of getting cervical cancer. But HPV virus in men can cause health problems, too. So it's important for men to understand how to reduce the risks of HPV infection.

It can increase a man's risk of getting genital cancers, although these cancers are not common. HPV can also cause genital warts in men, just as in women.

More than half of men who are sexually active in the United States will have HPV at some time in their life. Often, a man will clear the virus on his own, with no health problems.

Risks of HPV Virus in Men

Some of the 30 or so types of HPV associated with genital cancers can lead to cancer of the anus or penis in men. Both of these cancer types are rare. In those with a healthy immune system, they are even rarer. Abou...

Read the Genital Warts in Men (HPV Virus) article �

Source: http://www.medicinenet.com/guide.asp?s=rss&a=9632&k=Womens_Health_General

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